MAF meets PPE and anti-venom needs in Morehead, Papua New Guinea

Published: 10 May 2020

Nurse in new PPE treating patients at Moreland District Clinic in PNG

For twenty years, Morehead District in Papua New Guinea has struggled without adequate anti-venom supplies. When coronavirus took the world by storm, another shortage became obvious – PPE. Thanks to MAF, the region’s health workers can now treat their patients without fear…

The remote Morehead District, situated in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province, is no stranger to shortages. For many years, Morehead’s Health Centre has barely been getting by due to its prolonged depletion of medical supplies.

When the pandemic hit, morale amongst healthcare workers was at an all-time low. Unable to provide personal, hands-on care for their patients, medical staff felt very sad as one nurse testifies:

‘During this time, we couldn’t be friends with our patients because we feared treating patients without PPE.’ 

MAF flies to the rescue 

But on 10th May, an MAF plane - in partnership with Aerial Health Patrol (AHP) - flew health workers, PPE and generous medical supplies (including anti-venom) to Moreland.

AHP also provided coronavirus awareness training, facilitated outpatient clinics, administered immunisations and offered further training on snake bites, infection control and family planning. 

The nurses of Morehead were very grateful for the coronavirus training and supplies of masks, gloves and hand sanitiser. Another nurse said:

‘When you came today with masks, you allowed me to work with my patients. When you did the coronavirus awareness training, you cleared up the confusion.’

By the following day, Morehead healthcare workers could return to work armed with proper PPE.

‘You relieved our fears and enlightened our spirits’

Now – thanks to the much-needed masks and gloves - Morehead’s medical staff can return to giving their patients the hands-on, personal care that they value so much. The nurse continues:

‘In our struggle, you arrived and removed some of those struggles. You relieved our fears and enlightened our spirits. We don’t know what to say, only thank-you to you all.’

Papua New Guinea’s, Prime Minister, James Marape, has extended the country’s ‘state of emergency’ until 1st June.

As part of their recent safety review, MAF PNG are assessing all 213 airstrips they use to serve communities across the country. They’re also adhering to government guidelines as MAF PNG Country Director, Todd Aebischer, explains:

‘One of our priorities is to ensure that MAF doesn’t transport coronavirus to the communities that we serve and love so much! We are being very careful in following government guidelines. These include making sure we properly sanitise our aircraft, observe social distancing, wear face masks and monitor passenger health.’

MAF Pilot, Joseph Tua, sanitising an aircraft in PNG

MAF has been serving the people of Papua New Guinea for the last 69 years.